It was May 1st 1983 when I was appointed to hunt the Essex and Suffolk Hounds, with the well known Suffolk agriculturalist George Paul and his wife Mary as my Joint Masters. Mastership had finally come my way but now was the time more than ever to put into practice much of what I had learnt over the previous seven plus years. I had been incredibly fortunate in the education I had received and I sure as hell wasn’t going to let those down who had made it all possible. However, before we delve deeply into my four seasons there, I thought it was perhaps an appropriate time to write an in depth article about the role of Masters and the many different challenges that face them today. The responsibilities of sound management are crucial, and with the spotlight being permanently upon us it is hugely satisfying that there are so many people who are prepared to give of their valuable time, making sure hunting has a solid future. This in itself says a lot about our sport, as running a hunt is a complex business at any time but especially during the present climate. We must never forget though that goodwill is not only the driving force behind our survival, it is the glue that keeps it together and should never be neglected or over looked. Although our hunts will not operate without finance, this is probably the number one rule that needs adhering throughout a Mastership, however long it may be and will have huge benefits all round.
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